Dr Peter Stratton

Research Fellow

Queensland Brain Institute
stratton@itee.uq.edu.au
+61 7 334 66362

Overview

Peter Stratton obtained his PhD from the University of Queensland in Australia in 2002. After several years working in the software industry in Australia and the USA, in early 2007 he joined the Thinking Systems project at UQ. His role was to understand and construct models of the computational principles that are implemented by nervous systems, and apply these models to complex engineering problems in robotics and information processing. In late 2011 he joined the Queensland Brain Institute, where he has been analysing micro-electrode recording data from patients undergoing electrode implantation for deep brain stimulation for the treatment of brain disorders. The primary goals of these analyses are to characterise human brain activity and to assist in the targeting of the electrodes for optimal clinical outcome. He also provides custom-written computer software and analysis tools for other experimental data collected by the lab. Career highlights include a journal paper published in Nature Neuroscience on Deep Brain Stimulation, a paper published in PLoS ONE on a digital wireless brain recording system, a paper published in NeuroImage on how the brain may generate complex activity for complex computations, several papers on using artificial neural networks to control robots, selection to attend the Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop (Australia), and invited talks as a guest speaker to the Salk Institute (USA), the International Seizure Prediction Workshop (Germany), and Brain Corporation (USA).

Research Interests

  • Principles of Brain Function
    Broad principles underlying complex brain function remain elusive and unknown. Glimpses have been obtained at the molecular, synaptic, cellular, network, systems and behavioural levels. However, understanding of how the brain actually represents and transforms information, or initiates and controls behaviour for example, is uncertain and largely superficial, particularly in any brain region beyond the sensorimotor periphery. One of my main aims is to understand the computational principles which are supported by brain activity. When a neuron spikes, what does it represent? This is not a simple question, since a single spike generated by a single neuron in isolation is clearly meaningless; only when the neuron is embedded in a network does each spike gain meaning with relation to the times of other spikes and, ultimately, with respect to the presence and timing of environmental events within which the brain is situated. How do we tease apart the complex interactions of brain and environment at multiple levels of representation, from cellular to systems to behaviour? Approaches are numerous and none are free of inherent limitations, but a common method is to electrically record activity from one or several small brain regions during behaviour. This method provides highly accurate timing information, resolves down to the cellular level (through detection and identification of spikes from single neurons) and also the network level (local field potentials), and can link activity at these levels to environmental and behavioural events. These correlations give small but significant clues as to how the brain represents information and controls behaviour. The collection and analysis of this data presents many challenges, but discoveries made have the potential for multiple substantial benefits: primarily, revelations of brain function and dysfunction leading to new treatments and cures for brain trauma and disease. Additionally, improved understanding of brain function could lead to the construction of novel, engineered information-processing and robotic systems to assist and augment human capabilities.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Publications

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Windels, F., Yan, S., Stratton, P., Crane, J. and Sah, P. (2015). Cortical gating of sensory responses in the amygdala. In: Special Issue: 25th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Neurochemistry jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific Society for Neurochemistry in conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society. 25th Biennial Meeting of the International-Society-for-Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific-Society-for-Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian-Neuroscience-Society, Cairns, QLD Australia, (241-241). 23-27 august 2015. doi:10.1111/jnc.13188

  • Stratton, Peter and Wiles, Janet (2010). Complex Spiking Models: A role for diffuse thalamic projections in complex cortical activity. In: Kok Wai Wong, B. Sumudu U. Mendis and Abdesselam Bouzerdoum, Neural Information Processing. Theory and Algorithms: ICONIP 2010, Proceedings Part I. ICONIP 2010 - 17th International Conference on Neural Information Processing, Sydney, Australia, (41-48). 22-25 November 2010. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-17537-4_6

  • Wiles, Janet, Ball, David, Heath, Scott, Nolan, Chris and Stratton, Peter (2010). Spike-time robotics: A rapid response circuit for a robot that seeks temporally varying stimuli. In: ICONIP 2010 - 17th International Conference on Neural Information Processing, Sydney, NSW, Australia, (1-10). 22-25 November 2010.

  • Ball, David, Heath, Scott, Nolan, Chris, Stratton, Peter and Wiles, Janet (2010). Spike-time robotics: A rapid response circuit for a robot that seeks temporally varying stimuli. In: Kok Wai Wong, B. Sumudu U. Mendis and Abdesselam Bouzerdoum, Neural Information Processing. Theory and Algorithms: ICONIP 2010, Proceedings. ICONIP 2010 - 17th International Conference on Neural Information Processing, Sydney, Australia, (). 22-25 November 2010.

  • Stratton, Peter, Wyeth, Gordon and Wiles, Janet (2009). A role for symmetric head-angular-velocity cells: Tuning the head-direction network. In: Computational and systems neuroscience 2009, Salt Lake City, UT, USA, (). 26 February - 3 March, 2009. doi:10.3389/conf.neuro.06.2009.03.300

  • Stratton, Peter, Milford, Michael, Wiles, Janet and Wyeth, Gordon (2009). Automatic calibration of a spiking head-direction network for representing robot orientation. In: Steve Scheding, Proceedings of the 2009 Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation. ACRA'09: 2009 Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Sydney, NSW, Australia, (). 2-4 December 2009.

Other Outputs